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Applicability Domain Analysis (ADAN): A Robust Method for Assessing the Reliability of Drug Property Predictions

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Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB), Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute), Dr. Aiguader, 88, E-08003 Barcelona, Spain
§ Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria
Cite this: J. Chem. Inf. Model. 2014, 54, 5, 1500–1511
Publication Date (Web):May 1, 2014
Copyright © 2014 American Chemical Society

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    We report a novel method called ADAN (Applicability Domain ANalysis) for assessing the reliability of drug property predictions obtained by in silico methods. The assessment provided by ADAN is based on the comparison of the query compound with the training set, using six diverse similarity criteria. For every criterion, the query compound is considered out of range when the similarity value obtained is larger than the 95th percentile of the values obtained for the training set. The final outcome is a number in the range of 0–6 that expresses the number of unmet similarity criteria and allows classifying the query compound within seven reliability categories. Such categories can be further exploited to assign simpler reliability classes using a traffic light schema, to assign approximate confidence intervals or to mark the predictions as unreliable. The entire methodology has been validated simulating realistic conditions, where query compounds are structurally diverse from those in the training set. The validation exercise involved the construction of more than 1000 models. These models were built using a combination of training set, molecular descriptors, and modeling methods representative of the real predictive tasks performed in the eTOX project (a project whose objective is to predict in vivo toxicological end points in drug development). Validation results confirm the robustness of the proposed assessment methodology, which compares favorably with other classical methods based solely on the structural similarity of the compounds. ADAN characteristics make the method well-suited for estimate the quality of drug predictions obtained in extremely unfavorable conditions, like the prediction of drug toxicity end points.

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    Activity values centered to the mean (Figure S1); compounds inside the defined CI for RF modeling (Figures S2 and S3); count of compounds per ADAN category with PLS modeling (Figure S4); count of compounds per ADAN category with RF modeling (Figure S5); prediction error for PLS and RF (Figure S6); ADAN and prediction error example (Figure S7); phi coefficients between ADAN criteria pairs for all studied series (PLS modeling) (Figure S8); phi coefficients between ADAN criteria pairs for all studied series (RF modeling) (Figure S9). Average predictive quality of the PLS models used for the ADAN validation grouped by datasets and molecular descriptors (Table S1). Average predictive quality of the RF models used for the ADAN validation grouped by datasets and molecular descriptors (Table S2). This material is available free of charge via the Internet at

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